If you have young kids or grandkids, you no doubt have run across Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends. That blue engine just has a mesmerizing effect on children. Whether it is the television show, the clothing, the bathroom, or the toy train sets, many kids just cannot get enough of Thomas.
My son is certainly one of those kids. For his third birthday last year we got him the Thomas and Friends Zip, Zoom, and Logging Adventure. One year later, this train track is still assembled and is regularly played with. When he has friends over, this track is the first thing they go for.
My son had previously enjoyed smaller Thomas tracks so we decided to move up in class and get him a large and complex set. For the most part it was a success. While there are parts of this track that will cause a little stress, it is a fun toy that can be enjoyed by the kids themselves and can be a great way to spend time with your little one.
What is the Thomas and Friends Zip, Zoom, and Logging Adventure?
The Thomas and Friends Zip, Zoom, and Logging Adventure is much more complex than other Thomas tracks you may have run across. It is a plastic track with many pieces. However, one you are oriented with everything assembly is not difficult. A little time consuming, yes, but not hard.
There are also a lot of "extras" to this track, but that is what makes the track so fun. And if you did not want the extras then this is not the track for you. What this track does is require the child to get involved with the experience. While other Thomas tracks are simple circles or figure-8s that allow a child to sit back and watch, the Zip, Zoom, and Logging adventure allow the child to make decisions on where and what Thomas does.
Around the last curve there is a switch that directs Thomas where to go.
- One direction is to the logging mill. At the logging mill the child must flip two switches that allow Thomas to drop off and pick up his delivery. At one switch the log is dumped into a conveyor belt which then electronically moves the log up to the top of the mill. After the move to the next switch, the child cuts the log and the log is delivered back to Thomas. My son loves being able to get in on the action in this way.
- The other direction is a zip line. At the zip line, Thomas glides across an expanse of about 1 foot to the track waiting on the other side. This also requires participation from the child as they must move the zip line back in place.
This may all sound complicated, but even a young child will eventually be able to learn how to use this train. My son has played with this track much more than the other due to the involvement it requires of him. He loves the saw mill and he loves the zip line. When he is finished playing, he even parks Thomas under the tree so that Thomas can "go to sleep." I enjoy watching him as he thinks through the various possibilities as Thomas makes his way around the track.
What are the Drawbacks of the Zip, Zoom, and Logging Adventure?
This track may not be for everybody. Do not get this Thomas the Tank Engine train set if:
- You want your child to be able to assemble the track. This track is complicated to set up and the pieces have to go in a certain order.
- You are expecting a wooden track. This track is plastic. This also allows for more derailments, but I have found that this actually enhances the experience as it gives my son something else to do.
- You don't want a learning curve. If you want to get the track out of the box, set it up in 2 minutes and let your kids have at it, it might be best to look for another Thomas the Tank Engine Train Set. This track takes time to learn, but one and your child does, it is so much more fun than a simple wooden circle track.
Other Thomas and Friends Tracks
I realize that different people like different things, and if this track does not look like it will suit your needs, then there are always other Thomas the Train sets for you to browse, such as Thomas' Busy Day and the Sir Topham Hatt Figure 8 Set. But if you are looking for a fun Thomas track set that will have your child involved and excited when they see and play with it, this is the track for you. While it is not a perfect toy, it is still a very good toy and a great gift idea. Just don't lose the instructions to the Thomas and Friends Zip, Zoom, and Logging Adventure!